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Its Tragically Their Creative Peak - 97%

Gothic_Metalhead, April 12th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2012, CD, Earache Records

What a shame to see how a band that went on to make their best work yet, and then all of sudden disappear after the death of a prominent member. That was the case for Woods of Ypres who had lost the guy behind the band David Gold, who died in a car accident four days before Christmas Day 2011. When I listened to "IV: The Green Album" I thought it was a boring and disappointing album that had little direction and a lot of music cramped into an album that felt too long. It had me think about their previous discography of how it was trying to find their distinct sound. Tragically, Woods of Ypres wouldn't find their distinct sound until the band's demise with "Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light." This was another album that also took me a while to listen to, because I didn't have the time to listen to the whole album. Upon finally listening to the entire album, "Woods 5:..." is a fantastic achievement in 2010s metal music. It was at this point where Woods of Ypres finally found their distinct sound where it melted influences of Melodic black metal, doom metal, and even incorporating more gothic metal than in the previous album. The album even won a Juno Award a year later beating out big name Canadian metal/hard rock acts like Cancer Bats and Devin Townsend Project.

The music is diverse in "Woods 5:..." that it even manage to have a broader sound without being too commercial. The album has a great intro song in "Lightning & Snow" where it starts off with thrashing sounds and blistering guitar solos. As the album progresses, It starts to have a more gothic metal influences. It has influences of Type O Negative vocally, and influences of Katatonia Musically. In Songs like "Death Is Not An Exit," "Traveling Alone," it shows sone very dark Katatonia inspiration that made it unique in their sound. However, the true gothic metal influence don't come until the end of the album by "Kiss My Ashes (Goodbye)." By then it also has some My Dying Bride influences, but the last two songs "Finality," and "Alternate Ending" were fantastic and felt original. It's piano were very dark and melodic, but really good. The black metal influences were toned down a lot, but not entirely. You can hear it in even "Lightning & Snow," but more so from Songs like "Keeper of the Ledger," and "Adora Vivos" where it has really catchy drumming, and shouting heard that makes you want to headbang faster than you already can. Throughout it also has some great doom influences, but they seemed almost accessible especially in "Silver," and "Modern Life Architecture." This doesn't do anything to make the album bad either, they were well executed and made the band expand in influence with this album. "Woods 5..." has amazing diversity that it can appeal to wide range of metal fans. The album appealed to me for having such heavy gothic metal influences with dark and sometimes melancholic atmosphere.

David Gold's performance in "Woods 5:..." is a massive improvement than in "IV: The Green Album." He has more energy in this album, and also more complexity. His shouting didn't feel tired in this album, and was able to keep up while he was singing as well. His vocals are more improved and shows that its more deeper and clearer. Hearing Gold sing in Songs like "Kiss My Ashes (Goodbye)," "Finality," and "Alternate Ending" shows how deep he can really sing and made the album more darker. David Gold's bass range reminds me of Peter Steele in a way, it was rich, and had a darker identity then when he singed in the previous album.

Despite still having a long set of lyrics in each Song, "Woods 5:.." also made improvements in its lyrics. Gone are the simple structures that Woods Of Ypres normally did with their previous works, now the lyrics are more complex and well written. The Song titles are also shorter as well compared to the previous album which is less of a headache. I love that it has complexity on this album, and yet the lyrics are so memorable just by how they were structured with the music. The album questions existence, morality, life, and nature that made each Song stand out as one of their own. It even tells the story of how person gets struck by lightning and as a result sees only death and not seeing a god or a afterlife. Its topics the album tackles were no longer questionable and simplistic, it has an identity that transcends further than the album already has.

"Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light" is a triumph. An album that feels too broad but not commercial, too gothic metal but more diverse, and too complex, but well written. It is an album that I would consider gothic metal because of how it manages to take some influences and combine them with what a band originally made in the past. Something that felt dark, atmospheric, and depressing. Unfortunately, we will never see another Woods Of Ypres album ever, and will never see these Songs on the album unleashed live. If David Gold was still alive, he and his band would have been the next generation of gothic metal. Think of what music he would have created after this album, think of how big the band would have became if they made a few more albums. It was a long career indeed, but the band's creative breakthrough was at the end of their career. For now, all we have to live for is this very album and thats the way it is. I feel that "Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light" is one of the best albums in modern metal music, and is one of my favorites in the decade.